Saturday, I had a free afternoon and after a little back and forth I decided to head up into the mountains. I knew it would be a bit of a gamble with flows being high and fast and weekend crowds taking advantage of one of the first sunny days in months. It would be twice as much driving time as fishing time but I said screw it, through my sling bag and waders in the car and headed out.
As usual I was glad I did. I never regret the choice to go fishing once I am on the water. As anticipated the flows were raging and the few spots I had planned to stop at had folks already fishing in them. One thing tenkara has instilled in me far more than my decades of western fly fishing is that fish can be found anywhere, and a little knowledge of fish behavior and ability to read water goes a long ways.
So I decided to go far upriver and explore some new waters. Finding access and places to cast was a challenge. A lot of trees and vegetation on the shore combined with deep fast current along the banks meant choosing my spots carefully.
It was a gamble worth taking. I was able to find some wonderful and secluded little runs and was rewarded with a few fantastic trout. I was especially pumped on the chunky rainbow below. I first worked the run it was in with a bead head sakasa style pheasant and peacock kebari. Letting it sink and pulsing it back, the trout flashed on it as it neared the surface but didn’t feel the hook. I was seeing more mayflies fluttering about so I took a few steps back and let the hole rest for a bit while I tied on an unweighted cream Takayama Kebari. Very first cast and seconds after touched down the trout charged up and smashed it. These healthy native rainbows go wild when hooked and it was a blast landing it on the Oni Honryu 450.
That beautiful fish definitely made my day. It’s the type of thing I spend all winter day dreaming about and when it finally happens its a such a great feeling. Tenkara really has given me back that child like excitement every time I fish now. I turn 43 in a couple of weeks and recieved my first fly rod for my 12th birthday in 1992. After 31 years of fishing with flies i’m more in love with it now than i’ve ever been. Very excited to see what unfolds in this 2023 season.